Friday, September 16, 2016

RACE CAR DREAMS by Sharon Chriscoe

Hey, everyone,

Today we're joined by Sharon Chriscoe, author of the just-released RACE CAR DREAMS from Running Press Kids. 

Sharon, thanks for joining us. I had a chance to read RACE CAR DREAMS, and it’s really cute! I predict a huge first place finish with little readers everywhere. Tell us about your book!

Aw! Thank you so much, Jody! And thank you for having me on your wonderful blog! RACE CAR DREAMS is a rhyming bedtime story about a little race car getting ready for bed. After his high octane filled day at the track, he washes his rims at the Tickle-and-Wash, fills his tummy with oil at Guzzle-and-Gulp, and chooses a book from the Speedy-Reads Library that’s all about speed. Then, once toasty and warm, he drifts off to sleep, shifts into gear . . . and dreams of the race!
Where did you get the idea for the book?

A couple years ago while I was reading the super-talented Jane Yolen’s HOW DO DINOSAURS SAY GOODNIGHT? for around the tenth time, I found myself wanting my very own unique twist on a bedtime story. After much brainstorming, and some trial and error, it hit me . . . full throttle! A race car! Kids love race cars and I had never read about a race car getting ready for bed. I spent the next few weeks in my mobile office drafting those first words.

Yep. That’s right, my office is not only mobile but it’s the passenger seat of a bread truck in which I work alongside my super supportive husband on our bread route.

It took almost another year of tweaking the story, revision after revision, draft after draft (nearly 50 in total!) before Race Car became a book that was submission worthy. And I am so thankful to my wonderful critique partners and the SCBWI Blueboard members that encouraged me and helped me to get him all polished and shined.

How did Race Car Dreams end up at Running Press Kids?

My amazing agent Jessica Sinsheimer sent RACE CAR DREAMS out on submission March 18th, 2015 and right away we received a lot of interest in our little race car. We actually had an "I'm taking this to ed board" note in 35 minutes! Already he was breaking land speed records. On April 1st, we were thrilled to have Running Press Kids as our publisher. Yes, it was most definitely not April Fool’s Day at the Chriscoe house. The entire process took two weeks.    Gotta love a fast race car!

I'll say! Do you have a favorite line or spread?

I do! Of course, as the author, I love all of the lines. :) But I have to say my favorite is “He’s sleepy and full and ready to read. He chooses a book that’s all about speed.” The idea of a race car not only getting ready for bed, but reading a bedtime story of his own, is unique in its portrayal yet so normal in a child’s bedtime routine.

As for my favorite spread, it actually coincides with my favorite lines. It’s the Speedy Reads Library scene where Race Car is choosing his book all about speed. I remember the first time I saw the little tree library and thinking it was just the cutest thing I had ever seen. I now have it displayed on my website.

What are you working on now? Anything else in the pipeline?

My editor, Julie and I recently wrapped up book two in the series. Here’s a summary of BULLDOZER DREAMS which releases in the fall of 2017: After a day of pushing, scooping, and clearing, a bulldozer shifts down his gears and prepares for bed. As he lifts his blade and his spotlights turn on, he rolls through the gate and heads to the Wiggle-and-Shake for a bath, the Sip-and-Slurp for a fill-up, and the Mighty-Reads Library for a bedtime story . . . and soon happy cheers fill his dreams as children swing, slide, and race on their new playground.

As for what I’m working on now, let’s just say that there will be more of the vehicle dreams books hitting shelves in the future.

Ooh, a mystery! Where can people find you online?

I can be found on my website at and my blog where I regularly update any exciting news at

Thanks, Sharon. It's been great hearing all about your books!

Thank you again for having me Jody. It’s been so much fun!

Friends, Sharon has agreed to give away a copy of RACE CAR DREAMS! Just leave a comment below to enter. The winner will be chosen September 30! Good luck

Sharon Chriscoe may not vroom around a race track, but she does zip and zoom around in a bread truck with her husband, Ricky. Fueled with fresh bread, snacks, and writing tools, Sharon has made this her mobile office! She and her husband live in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina. They have three children and one grandchild on the way, as well as an assortment of dogs, cats, bunnies and occasionally a groundhog. In addition to RACE CAR DREAMS, she is the author of BULLDOZER DREAMS (a companion book to RACE CAR DREAMS, Running Press Kids, 2017), and THE SPARROW AND THE TREES (Arbordale Publishing, 2015). She is also a contributor to several magazines such as Highlights High Five, Highlights Hello, and The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids. She is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is a graduate of The Institute of Children’s Literature. She is represented by Jessica Sinsheimer of the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency. To learn more about Sharon, her books, and future events, visit her website:

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Benjamin Banneker: Self-Made Man

Hey Everyone!

Benjamin Banneker was a man ahead of his time. He was born in Maryland on November 9, 1731. Unlike many blacks at the time, he was free. As a child, he helped with the crops and livestock his family owned. He only went to school during the winter. Eventually, he worked on the family farm full time and stopped going to school.

But he never stopped learning. Benjamin loved to read and would devour any books he got his hands on. He also loved to tinker with mechanical things. He built a clock that rang on the hour every hour for 50 years!

He also loved to look at the stars, and he loved math. These interests helped when he wrote his first almanac in 1791. Eventually, Benjamin became known for his ability to survey and calculate. He was the only black person chosen to work on the new Federal Territory, what would become Washington D.C. He helped survey the land and place cornerstones which still stand today.

Benjamin continued to publish yearly almanacs until 1797, when his health began failing.

If you'd like to read more about this amazing man and his accomplishments, pick up a copy of BENJAMIN BANNEKER: SELF-MADE MAN, just out from Teacher Created Materials.